Lunch Prep: Loaded Farro Salad ~ this healthy grain salad is packed with protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and lots of flavor and crunch, aka everything you need to deliciously power through your day.
Grain salads are a fun and healthy way to meal prep
We’ve been living on grain salads lately, it seems like every day I’m firing up the Instant Pot or setting water to boil on the stove for a batch of some new grain. We’re on quite a kick, but we never feel like things are getting repetitive because there are so many interesting grains to rotate through.
Recently we’ve made a wheat berry salad and a delicious rye berry salad, but today I’m using farro.
what is farro?
- farro is an ancient grain, related to wheat, that’s actually one of the oldest cultivated grains on the planet. In fact, some think it could be the big Mama of all grains, the one they all evolved from. It looks like a large brown grain of rice and has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture when cooked.
- farro is incredibly healthy, it’s packed full of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
farro is a general term that refers to 3 different types
You may see it under these names at your supermarket, but sometimes it’s just called ‘farro’.
Is farro a good carb?
- Yes, farro is a complex carb, meaning it isn’t refined like white rice, and still retains all its healthy properties.
- This kind of carb actually helps you maintain a healthy weight by making you feel full longer.
- Whole grains like farro don’t cause a spike in blood sugar like refined carbs (like white bread) can.
- The extra fiber in farro does not get digested, so doesn’t add calories.
Where to buy farro
- Look for it in the grain section of well stocked supermarkets.
- Buy it online here.
forget everything you thought you knew or didn’t know about cooking whole grains…
how to cook farro the easy way
Cooking whole grains is super easy and there’s no complicated measurements to remember. For farro there’s no need to soak the grains as they cook up fairly quickly.
- rinse the grains
- put them in a pot and add cold water to cover by a few inches
- bring to a boil, lower the heat and boil gently with the lid on (leaving a little venting for steam to escape,) until the grains are tender to the bite, the time will vary from 20-40 minutes depending on the type of farro you have. I like to cook them al dente, just like pasta, so check on the early side.
- drain off excess water.
You know I never leave you high and dry without a great dressing, and this cider poppy seed dressing is a good one. It’s simple, but with a nice seasonal punch from cider vinegar. The poppy seeds add a fun crunch. When I blend it with my stick blender it emulsifies into a creamy dressing with a nice bright yellow color.
more healthy lunch options
- Curried Chickpea Salad (vegan or not!)
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Tuna
- The BEST Chinese Chicken Salad
- Finnish Salmon Soup (Lohikeitto)
Loaded Farro Salad
- 1 cup raw farro
- 1/3 cup diced cucumber
- 1/3 cup diced apple
- 1/3 cup diced bell pepper
- 1/3 cup diced carrot
- 1/3 cup chopped cauliflower
- 1/4 cup minced red onion
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup dried figs, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 10 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1/3 cup walnut oil, (use olive oil if you like)
- 3 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp yellow mustard, I used Coleman's for a kick
- 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- Rinse the farro and put a pot with 4 cups water to boil on the stove. Bring the water to a boil, add a pinch of salt, and the farro. Lower the heat, cover, and let gently boil for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain, rinse, and put in a large bowl.
- While the farro is cooking make the dressing. Put the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, and poppy seeds in a small jar and use an immersion blender to emulsify the mixture. Taste to add salt and pepper.
- Add the rest of the salad ingredients and toss with the dressing. You may not need all of the dressing…add enough to moisten it first, and then add more as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.